March 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
March's April . . . 
As we float into March midst swollen banks
the forecast calls out for more days of rain.
Snowing and freezing of recent past ranks
among the worst recorded earthly pains.
Now, thawing, raining, and flooding ramp up;
predictions of severe weather winds wrap
coming days in showers and springtime temps
resembling April much more than March winds
to which we have become more accustomed.
The plowing and planting we want to tend
must wait for those winds to dry things a bit
when the soil for tilling will be more fit.
The winds with less rain blow in days of spring
when the crocus buds and the blue birds sing,
dusk temps are suited for the front porch swing.

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Photo Above: by AndreyKonstantinov@Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Down on the Farm — IV

A Snowy Nostalgia

by tkbrown

20 February 2021 — Growing up in the Ozarks, I was so blessed to experience four distinctive seasons each year. The snows blanketing our country during the past two weeks brought back memories. Just prior to the onset of winter storms Uri and Viola, one of my siblings and I were talking about the winters of our youth bringing much more snow than we have seen in recent decades. We were a bit nostalgic about the memories associated with those snows–at times they were two feet deep or more with drifts three to four feet deep. One Christmas Eve, an older sibling drove in from another state and parked their Volkswagen in front of the house. The next morning, there was just a big hump in the front yard–no visible evidence of the car buried beneath all that snow.

Winter brought with it the excitement of holidays, snows and ice coated trees which I thought were absolutely beautiful with the sun shining through them early in the morning. Riding the bus to school, I often commented on how much I loved seeing that aspect of winter. Other bus riders could not see what I saw. I suppose, in their minds it was too early in the morning and they were still snug in bed and fast asleep. They wanted no part of my icy reveries which threatened to eject them from their warm ones.

On days when conditions were too dangerous for the busses to risk the drive to school, and on weekends, etc., I could enjoy the evidence of Jack Frost’s visit during the night. The etchings on our windows boasted designs far more intricate than most paintings. The beauty of winter escaped many, but I never missed a beat of its cold heart. I loved looking out the windows to see God’s handiwork. Even having to carry in wood and coping with one side of me getting too toasty as it faced the old wood heater while the other side froze could not diminish its value in my heart. To me, even during the season others viewed as representing death in life’s cycle, nature’s beauty surpassed any ugliness that came with it.

My heart goes out to those who suffered hardship and loss during the past couple of weeks. I understand the blessings of modern technologies have allowed many of us to advance beyond the primitive realities associated with the wood heating of my childhood. However, news of the suffering many endured due to the overwhelming frigidness of the temperatures and accompanying snows brought back memories of always being able to stoke a fire in that old wood heater or turn-on the gas heater and kitchen range even as the electricity failed us. Living on the coast and enduring a number of hurricanes, I loved being able to cook a pot of beans and rice or cornbread on that gas range for us to eat until. We never missed a hot meal during a power outage. That is one part of having less than others I have never regretted.

As the days of my childhood grew warmer and steadily longer, springtime dropped in for a visit. When the dogwoods and redbuds began to bloom, I knew spring would soon be in the air. Our springs were long enough to truly enjoy the rebirth of life associated with the cool days of fragrant, variegated greens and yellow greens. The fresh bursts of color in both nature and homestead, and the planting of seeds–as the days grew warmer–from which we would enjoy the produce over the coming year. These were fertile reminders of life budding anew. Springtime in the Ozarks is a rebirth of every aspect of living.

As school let out, days were becoming hotter and longer. Soon, summertime was in full swing. The heat–sometimes blazing heat–in luscious green surroundings seemed to embrace me with appreciation for the growing and reaping to be done. The mouth-waterin’ vegetables, fruits, and berries we harvested each year were my favorite part of livin’ off the soil. I looked forward to the watermelons, the peaches, and other produce peddled to locals by other locals because these were never locally grown in sufficient quantity. The annual hog-killin’ in late July or early August with the fresh tenderloin to follow at breakfast the next morning was usually assisted by cousins from other states. Afterward, we would all gather ’round to enjoy a feast of fresh pork and fresh vegetables from the garden. If we were lucky, the activities of this day coincided with the peach purchase mentioned above, thus prompting a bowl of peaches ‘n cream for dessert. Summertime food was always so delicious. To this day, I love the abundance of produce available during spring, summer, and fall. UUMmMmmmmm!

Fall in the Ozarks blanketed the area with bursts of color on every hillside–red, yellow, orange, and crimson mingled with green and brown–with the cedars etching a bit of evergreen and each frost increasing the browns. Vegetables that had not been harvested from the garden were brought in, preserved, and stored for winter. The Halloween Carnivals (now Fall Festivals) and Thanksgiving only added to the excitement and anticipation of Christmas ahead.

Now, we cannot forget the annual harvest celebration in a neighboring county. As we grew a little older, we could most always see a slew of people we knew at the Hootin’ ‘n Hollerin’ celebration. The Hog Callin’ contest was the most sought after prize of the day. Usually, this prize was taken by a woman ’cause she had looootts o’ practice from callin’ her husband in for supper every night.

When I was young (early childhood–preschool age), the fall also boasted an Annual Pie Supper to benefit the school. I was too young to participate, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching older sisters baking pies to be auctioned off and eaten with the highest bidder. Some of those pies were well-known and sought after–bringin’ a right-good price to compliment and redden the face of some young lass.

Then there was the Annual Talent Show. Local talent turned out in droves to assist in raisin’ funds for our school. As I mentioned above, I was too young for the Pie Supper, but Mama and Daddy were sure to sign me up for the Talent Show. I began singing at the tender age of three. The Pie Suppers and Talent Shows fell by the wayside by the time I reached school age, but I remember the fun they provided all who participated. All of the excitement added to the bliss of those fall days, which were cooler and reminded me of the holidays and winter wonderlands yet to come.

I look back on my growing-up years, and although there were bad times, I do not remember too many of them. I always felt blessed somehow to be a part of all my surroundings–family, neighbors, friends, and nature. I learned so very much from all that I experienced. You just had to be there and see it through my eyes to understand the level of nostalgia felt at times when engrossed in reminiscing those days of yore.

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Photo at the Top: by MikeGoad @pixabay.com.

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Springtime . . .

by tkbrown
Spring is rejuvenation and rebirth,
life and color revisits drab and dead
in the world round about, o'er all the earth.
As the sun warms the soil, giving earth's bed
the urge to burst forth with abundant life
to welcome beasts of the earth with fodder,
fowl of the air with delight as they strive
for nesting place and food found in nature.
Bursting forth with abundance fur nurture
as seeds lain dormant for winter now sprout,
hill and vale beckon with life and color.
Tiny yellow-green leaves seem to pop out
overnight on the limbs -- drab through winter --
and dots from the rainbow fill hooded green
hips as all floral reach for sunlight banter
upon petals reflecting healthy sheen.
Beauty splashed from God's colorful palette
brings a feast to appreciative eye
midst the sweet balance and lush complement
of the surrounding backdrop -- earth and sky.
Rounding a bend in the lush path ahead
a different view the senses observe
where lush green grasses carpet the land
with patches of brown accenting the verve.
The sun shines brightly as it warms the soil;
gardens are tilled, soil readied for planting.
Beds raised and prepared where families toil
setting and seeding their salad fixings --
onions, radishes, spinach and lettuce,
with tomatoes and cukes off to the side.
When oak leaves are the size of a squirrel's
ear, potato plantings can temps abide.
They don't grow well when temperatures soar;
so, always be sure to plant by the moon.
For corn and beans, squash and okra galore
the waxing and waning should be in tune.
Bumper crops grown by the old-time folklore
will fill cupboards, freezers and cellars too.
Springtime yearnings will fill tables and more,
and harvesting produce saves money too.

Calendar Quindecims March

by tkbrown
March winds arrive with blustery sunshine chill
marching through forests, over hill and dale.
Through plains lands, swamplands, farmlands and cities,
o'er countryside filled with dogs and kitties,
she makes her presence known as birds chirp songs
heralding springtime's parading entrance:
bright yellow greens in variegating dance
with blazing white dazzle in royal throngs.
Colors of the rainbow fill ground and tree
as yards, orchards, forests call to the bee --
whilst a jubilant melody exudes
from the wren, robin and goldfinch etudes.
Home garden plantings, wheat land plantings too,
fill a hustling, bustling nonchalant hue
with lists of tasks and fun yet left to do!

Image by Jill Wellington of Pixabay

Calendar Quindecims February

~~ by tkbrown
February slides into place, the chilly air takes on ice;
what was new, fun to explore -- now, not so nice.
The urge to get out and about, feel sunshine's sway
set into motion -- builds up need -- by one really nice day.
Thoughts linger on the garden a bit, the taste of fresh produce
on the tip of the tongue excites the taste buds, begins to induce
a yearning, a longing, for the freshness -- the sweetness -- of spring,
new leaves on trees, red and white flow'ring and new songs to sing.
Days yet cloudy make that fireplace hearth a nice place to stand
as we dream about sunshine, start tilling that land in our mind.
Sometimes in winter, a brief break is nice -- time to rekindle the fire,
rejuvenating those coals from that early, dark morning hour.
Starting those beans with some onion, garlic, hock of holiday ham --
making sourdough bread for some sweet butter and jam,
and the comforting savor of an enticing entre made with a yam.